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Thirty-One Times Grateful

My birthday was last week, and, as ever, I greeted the day with excitement and joy, and not a little gratitude. I am sometimes sarcastic and sometimes philosophical, but this occasion called for a simple stock-taking of all the reasons having another birthday is a great thing. 1. I live in a free country (no, […]

sanity restored

Why 54 days are better than 60.

54 days

55 days plus a 3-day weekend ago, I embarked on a bit of an extreme diet journey. Extreme from the perspective of most of us who have gotten used to relying on refined carbohydrates and artificial sweeteners and the convenience of processed and fast foods. Normal if you think of how food used to be for most of the history of humanity.

I did what is called the Whole30 diet, which rules out grains and all grain products, dairy, sugars and all sweeteners including honey and maple syrup, legumes, and common preservative and additives such as lecithins, sulfites, MSG, and carageenan. Few people would be able to do the Whole30 all the time. It’s meant as a sort of nutritional reset, a time for your body to heal from all the non-natural stuff you’ve been pumping into it for your entire life. It’s not your fault–it’s our culture’s fault.

After the success of my first month, I boldly decided to do two. My friend Erika did, after all, and she had inspired me to try the Whole30 in the first place.

Something went wrong in my calculations, and I put yesterday in my calendar as the last day, Day 30, time to celebrate! Last week, I began to get excited. I could finally eat some cheese! Dig into the chocolate that has been accumulating in my candy jar, taunting me! Check to see if the bottle of wine I opened before all this started is still remotely good!

Having just come through about 10 days of academic zombie madness, where avoiding that chocolate was an exercise in self-control I didn’t know I had, the idea of finishing became very very enticing.

I could finally relax my Kaiser-esque food regime, buy cheaper food, eat some of the convenient-and-less-nutritional stuff in the freezer, have dinner with someone without a long list of I-cannot-eats.

I got excited, and I began to count on yesterday being the last day. Then, the night before last, I realized my mistake. Yesterday was not day 60, it was day 54! Oh no! A sort of despair started to settle in as I thought about having to forgo that bottle of wine I had promised to share with my BF’s parents on the weekend, about not being able to enjoy the potluck dinner with friends we are attending on Saturday.

And I started to think about what it really means to quit at Day 54 rather than Day 60.

It means I went without grains and sugar and dairy and legumes and preservatives for 54 days!! It means I’m running 20 solid minutes tonight! It means I have lost weight! It also means I have spent so much time shopping and planning and cooking and packing meals and washing the resulting dishes. I have spent so much money on vegetables and meat, money that I didn’t really have. It means I have little patience left for waiting for a sip of wine, a taste of chocolate, a bite of cheese.

It means enough.

sanity restored

I was on a mission to get “wholly healthy.” I didn’t get all the way there, but I got 54 days and 5 weeks of Couch to 5K closer. I learned a lot about food and cooking and spices and oils and myriad ways of making vegetables into something yummy and crunchy.

Now, for me, “wholly healthy” means backing off of the strict diet. Relaxing my boundaries a bit, a little at a time, finding a balance between what I have learned and what my real life is. Taking some time away from the stove and giving it to some of the people in my life. It means enjoying those things that I have always loved, albeit with much greater moderation than ever. It means learning how to say “No, thank you” to a second helping of whatever delightful carb is offered.

It means greater sanity. And sanity, for me, sometimes feels too thinly spread across the fabric of my life. I will take more sanity over 6 more days without cheese or chocolate, thank you very much!

wormingtons

Locality: Inspirational blogger Melissa Wormington

wormingtons

Melissa Wormington has a way with words that is honest and heartfelt. You feel like you know her, like you are walking through life with her.

I haven’t officially met Melissa, but her daughter Makenna is friends with Johnathan’s niece. I came face-to-face with Melissa for the first time shortly after her home was destroyed in the Goderich tornado on August 21, 2011, and heard part of her story first-hand that day, as she told it to John’s brother-in-law’s parents, her neighbours.

Melissa was at home making cookies that sunny summer afternoon, as her kids played nearby. Her husband, Jeff, a volunteer fireman, was at the fire hall, washing his pick-up truck. Suddenly, the power went out, and a few minutes later, her family safely in the storage room in the basement, Melissa heard rain and wind “pounding on the outside walls.” Above them, the noise of things breaking and crashing was deafening.

Thinking it was merely a quick and severe thunderstorm, Melissa didn’t stay put in the basement after Jeff decided to see what had happened outside.

I peeked around the top of the basement stairs into our front hall and came face to face with the front door to our house, the storm door, laying right there on the floor in front of me, as well as leaves, dirt, stones and just…debris. I could see the screen door outside on the porch. It was still pouring rain. I saw that our living room window was smashed.

Out on the street, they were astounded with the destruction from what they assumed was a “thunderstorm”.

Damage on West Street
Damage on West Street

Read what happened next on Melissa’s post Tornado – Sunday August 21: Part 1.

Her first-hand experience is raw and moving. She has since posted about the tornado’s effects on her family, her neighbours, and the rest of the town several times. If you want to gain an understanding about what it was like for tornado victims, Melissa’s blog is a fantastic place to start.

The Story of Us

This quote is from her post “Tornado in Goderich: Trauma

At my office we have lots of paperwork and reading material on trauma, surviving it and the effect it has on families. Some of it was centred around the events of September 11 2001. I had read it when I came across it, and have attended workshops in the past about the effects of trauma on families…most of those relating to the effects of witnessing or experiencing domestic or child abuse. But none of it really stuck with me over the years.

Until now.
Now I get it.

Melissa has been an inspiration for her fellow citizens, and has told her story several different times to journalists and filmmakers and others. Her story is also available in the locally-published compilation of stories, Not Like Any Other Sunday.

Thank you, Melissa, for your humility and honesty, for your transparency.

~~~

You can read all of Melissa’s posts about the Goderich tornado here.

You can also follow The Story of Us on Facebook.

If you know of a local person, business, event, etc. that you think deserves some publicity, I would love to feature them in my Locality series. Please comment, tweet me @sarahnadian, or email me at sarahnadian@gmail.com.

Limbo: A Return to Transparency

I’ve been on a journey. We’re all on a journey, I guess, but my journey took me into territory I couldn’t have foreseen. It could also be said that it took me out of territory that I DID foresee myself living in forever. If you had asked me when I was 25 what I would be doing in 4 years, I would not have said, “Going to university in Canada after living there for 4 years”! I would not have guessed I’d become a server (and a good one, I daresay), join a local band (or two), fall in love with a local guy, have my own apartment in a tiny hamlet without even a general store or gas station… the story goes on. Key to this blog is the fact that I definitely wouldn’t have predicted leaving my church, growing disgusted with the institution that is the Church, and setting my whole “Christian” life on a little-used shelf in the back of a dingy basement.

Looking back, I can sort of trace my progress out of the “Christian” culture, step by tiny step, all the way to where I am today (which is a sort of limbo, I think). Did I turn the wrong way at those decision-markers? I couldn’t tell you for sure. All I’ve got is where I am today, and a hope that all will be well.

Back to this idea of limbo: I’m definitely not in a faith world right now, nor do I have any desire to be. “Christian” culture and lingo and attitudes continue to creep me out. Worship songs do not stir me; I don’t want to sing along even if I know the words by heart. Churches that I know are working hard at casting out hypocrisy and shallowness still don’t appeal to me.

Privately, there are times I cast up a prayer; I know God is listening. Every now and then I yearn to be discovering ancient and earth-shaking truths about the divine. Once in a while I think, “God is the only being that knows EVERY. SINGLE. BIT. about me”, a fact which is sometimes comforting, sometimes intimidating (but I wouldn’t want to believe in a God that a; didn’t know me, b; was never comforting, c; was never intimidating). I occasionally miss a certain depth that I was once working on, “down in my heart”, but then I think about how I’m working on balance and knowledge, and, therefore, depth in other areas that were too shallow before this exodus of mine. At university, I find myself interested in the history of the church and the changing trends that led to the traditions accumulated and passed down through the generations.

It’s limbo because I feel as if I’m going somewhere; I’m on a winding path that is nowhere close to being finished. Along the way I’m discovering more about who I really am, what the world is like, where my moral boundaries are, and what I can actually believe in and why. If/when I return to faith, it will be because my path has led me there, because the time is right and things have lined up; it won’t be because of a feeling of guilt over not going to church or praying or speaking churchese or reading my Bible.

So. Limbo… sometimes an uncomfortable place to be, but for me it means that the place I am going is not the place I’ve come from. It also means there IS a forward motion in effect. I’m liking limbo, and I’ll like it until I don’t, and then I’ll move on.

A Transparent Truth

The more observant of my readers may have noticed that all of my recent posts (notice I didn’t use the words frequent or regular), recent being over the last year or so, have been either about grief, ranting, or something superficial. The reason? Fear, mostly. Fear of what others may think of me, of how […]

A Transparent Truth

The more observant of my readers may have noticed that all of my recent posts (notice I didn’t use the words frequent or regular), recent being over the last year or so, have been either about grief, ranting, or something superficial.

The reason? Fear, mostly. Fear of what others may think of me, of how those who have known me as The Good Little Missionary Girl might regard me if I delve back into the topic of faith, or get as truly

Of Blogtherapy and Gradual Transparency

Right now, sitting in a big old house where I live with friends who are away, on an overcast day in the middle of the country, just over one week after a breakup and a couple of weeks of out-of-the-ordinary events, without food or coffee in my belly, and desperate for a haircut, it seemed like a great moment to tell the world that I find solace in this blog. When I get the chance to string words together here, I feel like I’ve come home.

Many of my readers have commented that they enjoy my writing style and some have suggested that I write a column for a magazine or newspaper. I shouldn’t have to tell you that I love getting feedback like that: YES!! Mission accomplished! And I would LOVE writing a column. If you have a lead on any such opportunities, please pass them on!

More and more I think that writing is one of the things I was born to do. I can write much better than I can speak. I submit the fact that I don’t have formal training, and I don’t know the specific rules of journalism, but I was born in the era of blogging, when even the formal media is being affected by what private individuals are writing.

I also often get feedback expressing surprise about how transparent I am on this site, but I have to confess that I wish I felt free to be more unreserved. There are topics I’d like to tap into, stuff I’d like to air, but I admit fear is holding me back. I know that my mother and my siblings and my best friends and ex-boyfriends and other relatives and former leaders and coworkers and people that respect me are reading this blog, and I’m afraid of a) shocking them, b) losing their respect, or c) making them think I’ve lost faith.

Dooce is one of my blogging heroes. She is ballsy, witty, and has an uncanny ability to twist any seemingly ordinary situation into something hilarious. Her way with adjectives and comparisons is awe-inspiring, though inevitably some of you would find her offensive. This woman’s possibly uber-transparent blog got her fired, but several years later, she gets paid to blog! Both her and her husband are now able to live off of the ads posted on her site.

Sure, it would be cool to get paid to blog, but my point is that I’d like to become more transparent about topics which may be uncomfortable to my peeps. I might go into stuff you didn’t want to know about me, or stuff which might cause you to lose respect somehow. I apologize in advance if I ever offend anyone. It is never my goal to offend, but always my goal to boldly be real about my particular human experience, and I’m honestly kind of sick of glazing over some of the more “juicy” stuff.

Do I have the nerve? I’m not sure, but I’m gonna follow my instincts step by step and we’ll find out together!

Meanwhile, have I mentioned that I love writing this blog and I love that you’re reading it right now? Bring over some friends and let’s get this party started!